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Junior Professional Officer - Associate Scientist, Understanding and Using Genetic Diversity to Increase Food Security, based in Nairobi, Kenya

  Title : IRS_AE, Assoc.Scient.,Genetic Diversity to Increase Food Security, Nairobi     Description : Bioversity International (“Bioversity” for short) is the world’s largest organization undertaking research on agricultural biodiversity, dedicated to addressing global issues related to food security, poverty, climate change and environmental degradation. We are a nonprofit organization, active in over 100 countries worldwide, with more than 350 staff working from some 16 country offices. We are one of 15 centres of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres (CGIAR).     Process Status :       Position Description : Click Here     Job Description : The JPO will be part of the team working within the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Her/His work will be multidisciplinary and will have a major focus on the importance of enhancing food security by promoting more sustainable yields through the use of genetic diversity with potential to adapt to conditions projected under climate change, with particular focus on the dry areas in west and east Africa. A key goal of the JPO’s research will be to provide a better understanding of the interdependency and interconnection between biodiversity and food production in the context of resource poor small-scale farmers, for whom the use of adapted genetic diversity can represent an important option for enhancing food security under climate change. The JPO will explore which type of existing and new genetic resources (i.e., cultivars, genes and alleles) are better adapted to biotic and abiotic stresses in the target sites and which are the best options to enhance the access to such genetic diversity by farmers. The expected outcomes for the JPO will be multidisciplinary, and will include enhanced understanding of the value of genetic to enhance food security; and farmers’ preferences, obstacles to enhancing food production through the use of such diversity; and the factors affecting the access to such diversity. The JPO will contribute to: i) Researching, using molecular and phenotype approaches, adaptive traits present in selected target varieties and species conserved in genebanks and on farm, to different biotic and abiotic stresses; ii) Documenting local knowledge on uses and adaptive traits of target crops and species, and informal seed systems, as well as existing seed distribution mechanisms and their interaction; and iii) Determining the relationships between agrobiodiversity and the socio-economic context to reduce food and nutrition insecurity. 1. Conduct molecular genetic analyses that will contribute to the understanding of genetic diversity among varieties of targeted cultivated crops that are important to local people; 2. Develop a link with Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa (BecA) and other scientists to define molecular analyses to be carried out to better understand genetic diversity to enhance food security; 3. Provide support to developing methodological approaches for collecting and analyzing data to show when and where crop genetic diversity is useful for climate change adaptation; 4. Help design and conduct a relevant survey to understand the socio-economic constraints, strength and weaknesses of existing seed systems in the target areas and propose new test ways to promote the use of diversity to enhance food security; 5. Help design and conduct participatory research on farm to test different options for the use of genetic diversity to enhance food security. - Training component: Learning elements and expectations (as per attachment) - Supervision: (as per attachment)     Minimum Qualification & Experience : Required Qualifications and Experience: - Education: A Masters degree in biological sciences with a fair knowledge of the following: • Statistics and data analysis • Population genetics • Evolutionary biology • Basic knowledge of GIS is desirable • Basic knowledge in social science and community-based approaches - Working experience: • Preferably 2 to maximum 4 years relevant working experience, including voluntary work and internships. • Research experience in analysis of genetic diversity (animal, fish, agricultural crops or trees), or evolutionary biology with a good background in molecular genetics approaches. • Practical experience with genomics molecular techniques. • Experience in statistical analytical requirements of diverse data sets is desirable. • Working experience in developing countries with local communities is highly desirable. - Languages: Proficient in written and spoken English with excellent communication skills.     Skills & abilities : Key competencies : • Knowledge of open source software, preferably R and other statistical software. • Ability to understand and to interpret data originating from different sources and from different research questions, including surveys on farmer knowledge and other social science topics, genetics, morphology. • Ability to take initiative and work independently even under difficult circumstances with flexibility, creativity and perseverance. • Ability to be innovative in planning and organizing research and training activities. • Ability to work in multicultural, multi-disciplinary teams. • Sensitivity to and respect for cultural and religious differences and social dynamics.     Personal Qualities :       Terms & Conditions : The Associate Expert will be located at Bioversity’s Sub-Saharan Africa office, located at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Campus in Gigiri at the northern outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, next to the UNEP HQ and the US Embassy. Nairobi, located at 1660 m altitude, with a pleasant climate throughout the year, offers a good choice of shops, restaurants, entertainment, sports facilities and more. A range of housing options are available. Furnished houses are rare but furnished service apartments are available. General Security: Like many other growing cities/countries in the world, security of persons and property should not be taken for granted. Bioversity follows the regular security advice provided by ICRAF’s Security Officer and provides an allowance for residential security services. Having a car will be necessary. NOTE: This post is opened in the context of the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) scheme sponsored by the Government of the Netherlands and is addressed exclusively to people with the Dutch nationality. For criteria see the website of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs:     Applications : Please apply online through Bioversity Job Opportunities web page ( by clicking the “Apply” button, completing the online application and attaching the required information, no later than 20 May 2012. Please note that in the application you are required to provide the contact details (address, telephone number and e-mail address) of at least three referees, which Bioversity will contact for short listed applicants. Applicants will receive acknowledgement of receipt of their submission (submission will be confirmed by a pop-up message: CV successfully submitted). Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.